Kata Beach is a 1.5-km strip of golden sand and is considered one of the most popular beaches in Phuket due to its combination of beauty, facilities and activities. Hundreds of people come each day to soak up the sun and swim in the sea. Often busy but never crowded, this beach is pleasing in many ways.
During the north-east monsoon season (November to April), the warm sea is often flat, crystal clear and turquoise in colour. The south-west monsoon season (May to October) can make for rougher swimming conditions, but it’s at this time of year that the surfers flock to enjoy the waves.
Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent on Kata Beach on a total of 10% of the sand, at intervals along its length. Beachgoers can also purchase small umbrellas (a few hundred baht in local shops and supermarkets near the beach) and beach mats (at the entrance of the beach, near Kata Beach Resort). The southern end has shops, restaurants and toilets close by.
At the top of the beach, and for most of its length, there are shaded areas, sheltering beach massage parlours and street vendor stalls selling a great variety of snacks and drinks. The far south is ideal for families with small children as it becomes shaded later in the day and is also close to amenities.
There’s a small island at the northern end with good snorkelling around it. Kayaks can also be used for exploring. Parasailing is also good here as the reefs at either end can be seen from the air.
Scuba diving enthusiasts and students are active at the northern end of Kata Beach, particularly during the high season when the water is at its calmest. The rougher conditions of the low season make swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving impractical, but are ideal for surfing.
For many, the southern and central parts of the beach offer the best surfing in Phuket, which is why Kata Beach can get rather busy at times, even in the low season. The waves are fast but manageable and at times can really buck high at the sandbar.
The south end of the beach is the best place to watch or join in on the surfing action because there’s a beach break there. Rentals are available for those who leave their boards at home or just want to have a try. Pay for the day and you can use any of the surfboards or keep switching until you find one you like. The waves are a nice size for beginners and surfing tuition is also available.